April 2021End of the sea-road for us…. DOMINO has new owners….Our delivery trip from Zihuatanejo to Guaymas was amazing, averaging almost 15 kts against winds and currents up rhe treacherous Sea of Cortez in winter…. BigD wanted to shine fo…

Dun Laoghaire

Our second visit to Dun Laoghaire marina outside Dublin was as enjoyable as the first. In the same berth as last time, we watched many spectacular sunrises over the harbour walls. The weather was clear and calm most days, and we took several walks, including to the end of each harbour pier. We also explored…

May 10 – Taughannock Falls

Rain, rain, go away, Come again another day, The crew of The Pearl wants to play.

We’ve had a lot of rain in the past week, every day we’ve had rain. The benefit of lots of rain in the Finger Lakes…it makes the waterfalls amazing. Today the sun came out, a little and we drove up to Taughannock Falls to check the sight. We’ve seen these falls almost dry through the summer, but today we were treated to a wonderful show of power.


Alalska 2021 Day 4

 Spirit Log Day 4


May 10, 2021


We planned a 0600 departure from Allison Harbour to cross Cape Caution before the afternoon westerlies piped up.  Arising at 0530, we were greeted by dense fog, but light winds.  Departing at slow speed with the automatic fog signal blowing every 2 minutes, we inched out the entrance.  The fog began to lift and we discovered clear skies over the Strait of Georgia.  The swell was running at 1.6 meters, or about 5 feet, with a 2 foot wind chop from the west.  We cleared Cape Caution at 0745 and passed behind Egg Island at 0835.  Not the best sea conditions, but far from the worst.


Making good time, especially as the seas calmed entering Fitz Hugh sound, we passed by our initial anchorage location, Green Island.  Proceeding up Fitz Hugh we entered Codville Lagoon and anchored under sunny skies at 1500, having covered another 73 NM today.


With the early arrival, we relaxed and enjoyed a movie night, watching “First Man” and snacking on popcorn.



Alaska 2021 Day 2-3

 May 8, 2021

Spirit Log Day 2


As expected, the winds abated after sundown and shifted back to northwest.  About 0330 the winds died completely, but the residual low swell caused the fishing boat to start banging against the fenders, waking us up.  Seeing nothing amiss it was back to bed until about 0700.


Our day today takes us through Seymour Narrows to Thurston Bay.  We need to hit high slack current at Seymour Narrows, so the 48 NM run to the narrows allowed us to delay our departure until 0900, under overcast skies and almost no wind in Tribune Bay.  Rendezvous is following us about ½ mile astern.


Overnight our anchor light failed, so we will have to replace when we get to Ketchikan.  Turns out that even LED lights have finite lifespans.  The light is located at the top of the mast in a difficult location and we will have to wait until Ketchikan to replace it, since Patrick discovered that there was no spare on board.


The Strait of Georgia was calm with light winds as we headed further northwest to Campbell River, just this side of Seymour Narrows.  The last of the flood tide flowing south through Discovery Passage slowed us down to less than 4 knots at times.  Even so, we arrived at 1600, 37 minutes ahead of high slack, our target.  The current was very manageable so we proceeded through the narrows and entered Johnstone Strait headed for our evening destination, Thurston Bay.  There was virtually no marine traffic the entire day.


We anchored Spirit at 1840 in light rain and calm seas, after a voyage of 69 NM.  After a dinner of roasted pork tenderloin scalloped potatoes and salad, we all retired early for the 0600 departure for our next stop, Allison Harbour.  We have covered nearly 185 NM since leaving Anacortes on May 6.


Spirit Log Day 3


Dawn arrived all too early for a tired crew, but the calm water and gentle sound of rain on the decks provided a soothing environment for sleep.  Setting the alarm for 0530, we were underway at 0545, some 15 minutes behind Rendezvous.  Riding the ebb tide up a calm Johnstone Strait in rain, dodging barges also riding the ebb tide, we turned into Blackney Pass and into Blackfish Sound.  Alas, no Orca’s to be seen, just an adverse current of 4 knots for several miles until we entered Queen Charlotte Strait.  By this time, the afternoon westerlies began to build and the ebb current created some short steep seas as we crossed over to the British Columbia Mainland side of the straits.  Passing Numas Islands the wind increased to 20-25 knots, the sun came out and we put a lot of spray over Spirit.  Threading our way behind points and islands to minimize the waves we finally decided to explore a different approach into Allison Harbour.  We could see several small passenger boats anchored behind some islands at the entrance and were pleasantly surprised by a nice potential anchorage for future trips.  The anchor was set in Allison Harbor ¼ mile behind Rendezvous at 1755, having logged 102.93 NM today, for a trip total of 289 NM, essentially halfway to Ketchikan.




Alaska 2021 Day 0 and Day 1

Spirit Log – Day 0 to 1


May 6, 2021


The first stage of our 2021 Alaska Journey was a positioning cruise to Roche Harbor in order to be close to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) marine reporting terminal at Van Isle Marina, Sidney.  Arriving at Roche Harbor we met up with the Selene 55 Rendezvous who are also headed to Alaska.  The cruise provided a good opportunity to test out the towing bridle for the Johnson’s 18 foot aluminum fishing boat.  We departed Anacortes Marina for the fuel dock at 0745 and after taking on 460 gallons of fuel departed Cap Sante at 0830.  Underway we tested out the towing bridle and the procedures for deploying and retrieving the fishing boat.


The towing bride worked fine but was more effective when we shortened the overall length by about 20 feet to 130 feet.


Arriving at Roche Harbor Marina at 1145, after a short 27.5 NM journey, our assigned slip was Slip 1 on the main guest dock, close for Miriam to get up to McMillin’s Restaurant where we were scheduled for a sendoff dinner with the crew from Rendezvous.  Dinner and adult beverages were excellent, but the summer prices were a shock compared to just weeks ago during the Selene Owner’s Rendezvous.  Likewise, the moorage prices between winter and summer went from $88 to $203 for the same boat.

Following dinner we watched the traditional summertime Colors Ceremony as the sun slipped below the horizon in a blaze of light.

Later that evening Patrick finished scanning passports into the ArriveCan app, required for entry in Canada, along with our proposed quarantine plan for the mandatory 14 day period.  The app accepted the entries and we received a 0800 appointment at Van Isle Marina for the next morning.


May 7


Our departure from Roche Harbor was uneventful, but early, at 0545.  Heading the ten miles to Van Isle Marina we called in as we crossed the border and CBSA confirmed our time of 0800.  Arriving at the CBSA float we found a small sailboat with nobody aboard blocking most of the float.  There were also no CBSA officers.  We managed to place Spirit mostly on the dock, with about 20 feet of the stern hanging out into the fairway.  Fortunately there was little traffic, and the only way on and off was by climbing over the side rail.  The CBSA officers arrived about 0825, since they start work at 0800, but at the Victoria Airport.  The inspectors were courteous and professional and after a series of questions about alcohol, fruits and vegetables, cash, cannabis products and firearms, they performed a brief on-board inspection while we waited in the cockpit, leaving the boat neat.  By 0845, just twenty minutes later, we were on our way north, with the officers even helping with our lines.  Overall, this was a pleasant surprise after reading other crossing reports.


Since the process took less time than we expected, in consultation with the crew of Rendezvous, who were cleared shortly after us, we decided to try for slack water at Dodd Narrows, which shortened the distance to our first stop by a few miles.  We actually rode the last of the favorable current through the narrows, hitting speeds of 13 knots over the ground.


Entering the Straits of Georgia and threading our way between the bulk carriers waiting to load/unload east of Protection Island we found very favorable wind and sea conditions at we skirted the western boundary of the acoustic range WG (Whiskey Golf) which was not active this day.  Passing Ballenas Islands the normal brisk winds spilling over Vancouver Island near Qualicum Beach, reaching 33 knots and the associated beam seas for the last ten mile run into Tribune Bay on Hornby Island coated Spirit with salt.  As we approached the anchorage, the wind and seas abated and we anchored in 30 feet of water at 1844, having covered a total of 88 NM since leaving Roche Harbor.  Rendezvous anchored shortly after us.


The somewhat exhausted crew enjoyed Chicken Piccata prepared by Teri Johnson before retiring for the evening.

A New Chapter Begins

Life is a series of chapters. We have certainly had many; small and large, conventional and offbeat. But through it all there has been one constant, our dogs. Our life has been filled with 6 wonderful, loving, funny, happy dogs. Each one has a unique personality which brings depth and joy to our life.

We have loved chronicling our life of dogs. We have tens of thousands of pictures of them and a few of us. They started with film and moved on with new technologies.

The TakingPaws blog’s first entry was August 27, 2008 with our crew of Dyna and her grandson Dylan. Dyna crossed the rainbow bridge in 2013 and Dylan is a now himself a senior citizen. Our canine crew has ridden the “blog era” to fame, becoming far more recognizable than their mom and dad. We have loved blogging about the crew’s adventures and have met so many great people along the way. 

The Red Head crew has now begun a new chapter. Dylan, Dee Dee, and Dora became the new owners of a beautiful home in Key West. Along with their staff of two (better known as mom and dad) they will be spending the fall and winter lounging by their pool and wandering the streets of this funky town. That doesn’t mean they have forsaken Red Head. She will continue to be their home as they travel north for the summer. So you can see they continue to live the hard life.

All of these changes have led to a hard decision. This will be the Red Head crew’s final TakingPaws entry. It has been a wild and wonderful ride but it is time to move on. 

As many have noted, the crew has been rather sporadic during this past year+ of COVID, so we will leave you with a digital collage of the past few months. Dylan, Dee Dee, and Dora hope everyone remains well as we emerge from this unusual time and they thank you for your many years of support and kindness. You can still keep an eye out for them on the waterways.


The crew settled well into life at Titusville to wait out the pandemic. They played during the day. And cuddled at night. Meanwhile, mom and dad found themselves browsing Zillow. 

In late February, the crew piled into a rental car to help with the inspection of a Key West house. Dora thought it was perfect. 

It was a very long day but the crew did great. They signed on the dotted line.

Red Head was moved north, out of the hurricane zone, where she awaits the crew’s return.

After stuffing a rental van to the gills, the crew took off for their new home. It was close but there was room for Dee Dee and Dora on the two bucket seats, while Dylan lounged in his bed on the floor.

Dee Dee immediately discovered the pool. She would stay there 24/7 if she could. 

Dora explored every nook and cranny.

Dylan hung around the pool remembering his glory days.

They seem to like it here and are doing very well settling in. 

Dee Dee discovers the hot tub.

 Dora discovers the sunny spot. She dislikes the pool. What a princess.

But it all leads to a quiet evening.

After many weeks getting the house together and the successful completion of mom and dad’s COVID vaccine, the crew had their first houseguests, Aunt Kristin and Uncle Wayne!!! Everybody had fun. They are now greatly missed.

In a few weeks the crew will head back to Red Head but there’s still plenty of time to play and relax in their new home.

Peace and happiness. It’s been a hell of a ride.

May 3 – Home for the Summer

“May your joys be as deep as the oceans, your troubles as light as its foam. And may you find, sweet peace of mind, wherever you may roam.” –Unknown

This will be our fifth season in Ithaca…it’s really becoming our second home and we love it here. We are beginning our 11th season on The Pearl and we have this migration thing down to science. Each spring we pack up our car, close up our house and boat in Texas and head north. This year we didn’t have to close up the house…we sold that in January. Although we know exactly what needs to be done, it can be a lot of work, especially unpacking when we get back to The Pearl


River Liffey

The River Liffey runs through the center of Dublin and has long been a source of water, recreation and commerce for the city. Trade along the river was recorded as early as the Viking days and the first bridge across was built in 1428. Up until the 1990s, cargo ships transported Guinness for export from…

April 22-28 – On the Road

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” – Morticia Addams

We’re back on the road…the road to normal and to our life in New York. It’s been over a year since we’ve eaten out, stopped to see cruising friends, stayed in a hotel or played tourist. This week we have done all of these things…and it has been amazing. Our first stop on our way back to New York was Hilton Head. We spent two days catching up with the crew of Exuberant. We talked, rode bikes, ate great food and enjoyed the comfort of their new home.